Geology Reference
In-Depth Information
Strutt made Holmes discard all the data and start again because
radon had been leaking into the room, contaminating every-
thing and giving spurious results (to say nothing of the e¬ect it
may have had on his health). Holmes had had to go cap in hand
to the British Museum and ask for more sample. Frequently, he
worked long and late into the night, but occasionally he went
out to play.
Holmes' only real friend in London, Aquila Foster, was away in
Germany studying geology in Freiburg, a city long famous for
its teaching of geology. Arthur and Aquila had known each other
from school days in Gateshead, but their friendship had not
developed until they were thrown together in London. During
the previous term Aquila's parents had moved from Gateshead
to Palmers Green in London bringing Aquila's younger sisters
and brothers with them. Having been a frequent guest of his
friend's family while he and Aquila studied in London together,
Arthur continued to visit them while Aquila was away. They were
a warm and welcoming household, perhaps realising the need
for this young man alone in London to have some sort of fam-
ily life, so in the cold January of 1911 they gave a small tea party
for his twenty-first birthday which helped him feel less home-
sick on what should have been a very special day. The two older
girls, Elsie and Edie, particularly entered his a¬ections, and he
confessed to his diary afterwards that 'to make Edie my
supreme favourite is no detriment to the others' . On being con-
sulted by her parents as to whether Edie, then only fifteen,
should stay on at school or not, Holmes admitted to having
selfishly advised them that she should stay on at school and then
go to college to study geology like her brother. In fact his moti-
vation was the hope that she would eventually share his inter-
ests. A home-loving boy, at the end of these weekends he often
went back to college feeling sad and disconsolate at having to
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